Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Make a needle felted gnome

We've been busy needle felting crafts for a local Christmas handmade craft sale and the latest thing we made were gnomes.  I thought I'd show you how these adorable little guys are made.

This is all you need.  I used naturally black and white washed sheep's wool from my friend's Jacob sheep.  All the dyed wool has been dyed with Jacquard Acid dyes, which you can buy at Dharma Trading company.  The exception to this is the reddish brown pygora goat hair, just below the gnome.  This has been dyed with Hawaiian red dirt.  I suppose you could get a similar effect with tea or coffee.  Last time I was headed to Hawai'i, I remembered our clothes always being stained from the iron rich red dirt growing up, so I brought some goat hair along.  This is the color it turned when I simmered it with some red dirt in a cloth pouch.  

The vibrant red is a mixture of Pygora goat and Jacob sheep wool. The blue is pure sheep's wool.  The locks of white in the center are ( I think) Lincoln sheep wool, left in the locks to use as a beard.  These sheep produce long locks of wool.  You can find wool, raw, carded and dyed on from countless sellers.  

You will also need a felting needle and cushion.  The felting needles can be bought at Joann fabric or Mielke's Fiber Arts.  You can buy replacement chair cushions at your local big box store, or use your couch cushions.  I love to buy antique hand carders.  They actually tend to be less expensive than new ones.  I bought mine on Ebay.  You can also buy two dog brushes at Target or any pet supply store and use them in the same way.  

Front of Gnome

Back of Gnome

Carded Jacob Sheep Wool

Roll tightly, at a slight tilt, so that the top is smaller than the bottom, and the bottom is slightly rounded

Begin to poke with the felting needle.  Be sure to turn it constantly so it doesn't become flat or stuck to the cushion.  You are essentially sculpting the wool with the needle.  Felting needles have little indentations that catch the wool and push it deep into the wool mass when you poke.  It will be more dense the more you poke.  Keep on poking until it's not fuzzy anymore.  You will round the bottom and taper the top.

Card your red wool and goat hair together,  Goat hair alone is too fuzzy and won't felt well.  When you card, hold carders in opposing directions, barely touching the tines together.  You will end up with bats that look like this after removing it and putting it back on the carders it 3 or four times.  Go to YouTube to see how to card.

Wrap the wool around just the top of your form you made, allowing no white wool to show.  Taper at the top. Needle felt.

Card your dark brown wool.

Wrap around the bottom of the form, allowing no white to show.

Needle felt well.

Card your red dirt or tea dyed goat hair.  

Wrap around the area just below the hat.  This is the skin for your gnome's face.

Roll a portion into a ball, leaving it a little fuzzy and needle felt it to the face, just below the brim of the hat.

Roll a tiny portion of black wool into a ball, needle felt to left of nose, just below brim of hat.

Repeat on other side.  Needle felt all around the nose.

Needle felt blue wool shirt wool between pants and face.

Roll little balls of the skin colored wool and make ears.

Take the locks of lincoln wool and lay them next to one another.  

Tease the locks, then fold in half.  

Needle felt just below nose at the folded spot of the wool.  Needle felt to blue shirt too.  

Needle felt so the the beard forms a U beneath the face and goes up to the ears.

Do the same on the back.


1 comment:

  1. This is the cutest thing ever! Love how you made these from local/natural resources (and with your Hawaii dirt). So when you "needle" the wool, that just means you poke it into the base of the gnome, right? I have never used this technique, so it's all new to me. Love it!


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